Sophia Banks’s short film Proxy focuses on a woman who gets more than she bargained for in her life of work. Proxy has screened at multiple the Oscar-qualifying film festivals including HollyShorts Film Festival, Lone Star Film Festival, Louisville International Festival of Film, and Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival.
Written by Anna Harrison
Have you ever thought of a great comeback or biting insult days after you had an argument, or wished you had poured your heart out to someone earlier? (The answer is yes, we’ve all done things like this, and if you say no, you’re lying.) Proxy takes that idea and makes it a reality, creating a slightly futuristic world where you can hire actors known as proxies to appear to you as your ex, your mother, your daughter. Proxy follows one of said performers, Victoria (Emma Booth), and we watch her go about her day as she spoon-feeds a man with severe mommy issues and appears as an old man’s ex-flame—one that it turns out he murdered. Just your average day job.
Why does Victoria do it, then? Because she just wants “to feel something.” Proxy, like all good sci-fi, uses its unrelatable world to discuss relatable things: identity, performance, loss, gender, sex. Victoria spends all day performing various versions of femininity: the caring mother, the innocent lover, the long-suffering wife. She spends so much time performing that she struggles with her sense of self, resulting in dire consequences.
Director Sophia Banks creates a bright, sterile world, matching Booth’s icy blue gaze. The production design for Proxy is top-notch and the film always remains pretty to look at, even if some moments don’t pack the emotional punch they should: we spend so much time with Emma performing that we only get surface-level impressions of her as a person and not a proxy, though perhaps that is the point. Either way, Proxy’s intriguing premise and beautiful design make it worth watching.
You can also read Anna’s Interview with Sophia Banks the Director of Proxy or you can follow more of Anna’s work on Letterboxd and her website